Ravenna City Council is
taking a second look at a proposal to enable city residents to park on tree lawns, and suggestions aimed at lower the cost of the licensing process sound like good ones.
The draft proposal calls for a $100 application fee, plus a charge of $180 per year for up to three parking passes. That adds up to nearly $300 per year, which some believe is too costly, especially for residents who may be living on fixed incomes. That's in addition to the cost of improving the tree lawn with asphalt or concrete to make it suitable for permanent use for parking.
Councilman Jack Ferguson, who chairs council's streets, sidewalks and utilities committee, suggests lowering the application fee to $25 and requring residents to reapply annually. He also questions the $180 fee for parking passes.
Ferguson also suggests that gravel be a suitable alternative for hard-surface parking. He makes the point, and it's a good one, that gravel would be better at absorbing rain water and would create less runoff than asphalt or concrete.
Parking on tree lawns isn't an ideal solution by a long shot, but for many residents who live in older homes that predate the automobile era it appears to be the only alternative short of parking in their front yard or using the streets themselves. So they park on the tree lawns, in violation of the law. Sensible regulations, with reasonable licensing fees, could help control the parking situation while enabling those who need to park on tree lawns to do so legally.
City officials have been debating this issue for several months. Residents have raised concerns about the draft measure, especially the cost aspect.
Councilman Ferguson's suggestions could make the measure more acceptable to those likely to be affected by it. We hope city officials take them into consideration and revise the proposal.